Lives of the fellows

William James Matheson

b.7 May 1915 d.23 April 1993
MB ChB Edin(1938) DCH(1946) MD(1948) MRCP(1948) FRCP(1973)

Bill Matheson was born in Glasgow. He was the son of a doctor, James McDonald Matheson, who was a captain in the RAMC. His mother, Margaret née Davidson, was the daughter of a marine engineer. Bill was educated at Dalhousie School, Fettes College and the University of Edinburgh. His first love was the Royal Navy and a year after graduation, with the outbreak of war, he volunteered for naval service. For the next six years his two loves, the Navy and medicine, ran in tandem until his discharge in February 1946.

On return to civilian life he decided to specialize in paediatrics and, after obtaining his DCH, he was appointed senior paediatric registrar at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in 1947. In April 1949 he took up a similar post at Leicester Royal Infirmary where, the following October, he was appointed consultant paediatrician and for the next 11 years, single-handedly, he ran the paediatric services in Leicester. Later, with the advent of the medical school, he worked hard to establish the chair of paediatrics. In the early 1970s he cooperated with Greville Janner, a local MP, in raising public awareness of accidental poisoning in children. He was a quiet man, who always supported his younger colleagues, and whose unassuming manner disguised a tenacious intellectual honesty.

His leisure pursuits included naval history, of which he had an encyclopaedic knowledge, and gardening. He was a devoted family man, who liked nothing better than a day in his garden, a good meal with a fine claret, and the lively conversation of family and friends. He was married twice. His first wife died in 1970; they had one son. In 1972 he married Carol Margaret Elizabeth Williams.

V C Luniewska

[Brit.med.J., 1993,307,498]

(Volume IX, page 354)

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